Everyone knows the quote, “Do little things with great love,” but acting out that challenge means being not grumbly about waking up at 5:50 to make sure two teens get out the door having eaten breakfast and with packed lunches, track shoes, field hockey stick, and backpacks before 6:25. I don’t always measure up, or even if I do, I start to crumple as the 12-year-old and the three- and almost six-year-olds get up and I have six lunches to go plus breakfast and the nervous nag that I don’t know where the kindergartener’s shoes are.
Some days, I’m doing little things with great tepid patience, hoping I don’t blow it when I’ve sent them to bed and this is the fifth time someone’s turned on the lights and asked to get a drink of water. Some days, I’m telling them, “I love you but please be nice to me and go to bed because I have nothing left and I don’t want you to push on that nothing.”
Small Successes are about when we cooperate with God’s grace, and when we grit our teeth to hold onto God’s grace, and when we remember to ask for God’s grace, and when we blow it because we went downstairs and found the batteries for the digital camera and the remote have been strip mined for the WiiU, and the basement cannot be safely crossed without impaling one’s foot on legos.
Because even after we’ve had our meltdown, eaten the emergency chocolate, phoned Mom, and picked up the toys off the basement carpet, we can still “begin again,” and turn this moment, when we are justified in being annoyed, into something (albeit small) sacrificial. I tell myself to consider doing this as an alternative to bellowing out the names of my children I know left the basement in this shape. I’d love to tell you I listen, but alas, I’m just as tone deaf to my lectures as my children can be. I’m still learning to be sacrificial in the little things, which is why God in His mercy does not ask more.
The trick to doing the little things with great love is practice. It has to become second nature, so that my sinful nature won’t have the opportunity to rear up and say, “Hey! You told these kids to clean the basement and they didn’t listen!” and work up a good self righteous mother martyr mad. I’ll know it when I can see a messy room the way I now see a toddler needing a diaper change. It doesn’t generate an emotional response, it is merely something that needs to be addressed. I don’t expect a thank you. I don’t expect credit. I just change the diaper.
Evidently, I still need practice so I don’t become indignant when I encounter a room where the toy bin exploded. Or at the very least, my kids seek to give me lots of opportunity for practice.
This week’s small successes include:
1) Staying on budget –not shopping for extra groceries.
2) Getting in a date night with my husband. We went to the movies.
3) Reading a whole book and starting another one.
4) Getting the basement clean after all of that stuff I described.
Looking forward to seeing your small successes this week.
Copyright 2014, Sherry Antonetti